My friend Alberte walked up to me in church and said, « I’ve been thinking about what I could do to help you lose weight.”
This was not unsolicited, but rather based on conversations we’d had over time. She also has three children who are about four years older than ours, and she only lost her extra weight about three years ago. I think there might be something to be said for the timing of slimness when you’re no longer eating your children’s leftover hotdogs.
“I know what you’re going to say,” I reply with a tired smile.
“No wait, let me finish,” she says. And indeed, I don’t know what she’s going to say. I have no idea what she’s going to say. She’s proposing to take me shopping, along with a couple of other girls who have good fashion sense and who can shop all day (unlike Alberte and myself who can handle about one shop max before heading to Starbucks).
She wants to buy me an outfit. Her theory is that if I feel good about the way I look right now, I’m going to start taking better care of myself, which will lead to everything else I am working and hoping for. There’s no sense at all in waiting to “merit” looking good.
I feel loved and a little bit awed by such display of affection. We set a date.
I’ve been tired lately. That’s perhaps an understatement – I’ve been physically exhausted and emotionally flattened by despair, which has nothing to do with anything. It’s a random emotion that has decided to take up residence. It has kicked off its shoes and is watching tv on my couch. (This despair is clearly not due to a lack of friends).
On a physical level, for the last couple of weeks I’ve been plagued by heart palpitations (I know about the coffee but haven’t consumed more than usual or anything). And when I went grocery shopping I clutched at the shopping cart because I was afraid of fainting. It occurred to me that my iron might be a bit low, but when I got my blood test results back, the level was at 23, within the normal range.
Then again, the normal range is 11 to 300, which seems … wide in terms of range.
Three weeks after my miscarriage my level was at 13 and those three months of taking iron supplements morning and night really only brought my level up 10 points. Such a small degree to bring my body back to normal levels of energy. I think I might also be tired because I expect more out of myself physically now than I did then. I mean, I went hiking in Provence and everything, which I wouldn’t have attempted in January.
On a slightly related note and as catch-up news, I finally went in for my hysteroscopy, which really didn’t hurt just as everyone assured me it wouldn’t – I was surprised. (I was also very relaxed from having taken a little valium-like pill). During the procedure they found some abnormalities so they took a sample and I got to take a picture home of my insides. Oh I uh .. thanks for the momento.
When I went in to the hospital for the final consultation two weeks ago, the doctor said the sample revealed that they didn’t get everything out and that I would need another operation. Apparently there was still a very small part of the placenta attached, which showed that Alistair was not letting go as easily as expected.
Or perhaps it’s me who is not letting go.
After listening to this pronouncement (and deflecting potential emotions by imagining a funny blog post), the doctor came back from speaking with the specialist and said that my body should be able to take care of it without operating because the amount of cells was microscopic. What were they going to remove? There was nothing to remove – it was just a trace. So no further action was required … normally.
But getting back to the fatigue, in an effort to shore up my strength, Sir and I took this month off from engagements. We would stick to the few things that were already set up, but add nothing else for the month of May. This would also give us a chance to catch up on some of the things that needed to be done in house and garden. Of course I kept this little shopping expedition in my agenda, as this was one of those things that was meant to shore me up and it seemed harmless enough.
The three girls took me in hand and sifted through the clothes in a young hip shop I would never dream of stepping into. They asked me what I thought occasionally, but mainly threw things in the basket that they approved of. We showed up at the dressing rooms with 17 items in hand. And that was just the first store.
The very first thing they had me put on was a zebra print sleeveless dress that was shorter in the front and meant to be paired with a large black belt, footless tights and black ballerinas. Zebra is so not my style. Sleeveless is so not my style, but I had promised to keep a very open mind because clearly I know nothing.
They declared it to be a keeper.
And then we spent five hours going to a few shops and trying everything on in them before I was sent home with three shopping bags full of outfits – shorts, tops, shoes, undergarments, dresses, jeans. They scoffed at me when I said I was xx size. No, apparently I was 2 sizes under that, even 3 in that first shop. I’ve been hiding under a curtain of obscurity and large clothing. At home I plopped three shopping bags full of stuff at Sir’s feet, an array of clothing on which I spent nothing, not one cent.
Alberte, having gone through the same process as me (with the same girls helping her out although she paid for all her own stuff), said that she had to force herself to bag up all her old clothes so she wouldn’t be tempted to wear them. I could see her point. My comfy clothes are calling to me and I will have to be bold-hearted and turn my face away.
But the thing is, I feel so exposed. My arms have never been my happiest feature and everything we got exposes them. My stomach has never been my happiest feature, and everything we got molds to my body. It makes me want to crawl under a rock and tuck in all my limbs, if only I could fit.
Let me hide behind my long-sleeved black tee-shirt from H&M!
Let me hide behind my pretty blog with its decade-old wedding picture.
Let me hide behind the words I create, the swirl of little white butterflies in the clearing that mask my face from the sun.
Let me hide behind Alistair.
It’s five in the morning and I can’t sleep. I’m tired from an emotional fatigue that is hard to overcome. I’m overwhelmed at wearing clothes that don’t conceal my body (not like I was ever fooling anyone) and at all the other things in my life that gnaw away at my peace – the foxes that ruin the vineyards, the mice that chew on my floorboards.
Tears drip around my face mask that I have to wear when I sleep because I stop breathing about 300 times a night (apparently), but that makes me feel a little like Darth Vader. How many years has it been since I’ve been able to take my ridiculous self seriously? At least I have this one irony, that I am more at ease in my own skin now that I don’t try to.
But sometimes I have to let myself be led down a path that is less familiar, even if it means exposing my weaknesses and my arms. Sometimes I have to be willing to bare my soul (or my nethers) in order to diagnose the microscopic traces of a former life in order to decide whether some further action will be required to root it out. Sometimes I first have to love myself in order to let the universe love me even if it all makes me feel so exposed.
All this drama. And I’m still on the fence about that zebra print.